Do you think a city break in the summer is a no-go? Well, let me try and change your mind! ;) There are several European cities that show off their most attractive side in the summer time. Whether it’s the many beautiful places in the heart of the city, chilling in the sun by one of the countless bars and cafes, checking out cool open-air events for young and old or the beaches, these cities have got more than enough things to keep you busy during the summer.
The Most Stunning Summer City Breaks
Dubrovnik | Budapest | Valencia | Rome
Sarajevo | Barcelona
Dubrovnik – the Pearl of the Adriatic
Dubrovnik is Croatia’s most beautiful, popular, and possibly diverse port town. It is one of the top ten destinations on the Adriatic, if not in the whole of Europe. This Croatian beauty is already well worth a visit in spring, as lovely blossoming plants cover the delightful landscape. However, Dubrovnik really comes to life in the summer. The many historic landmarks in the Old Town, especially the impressive town walls and the famous Sponza Palace, are ready for a visit in the best weather. There are some fantastic photo opportunities in the sunshine. If the temperature shoots too high up the thermometer for you, you can visit one of the many museums in Dubrovnik, which are usually air-conditioned.
Obviously, sightseeing isn’t the only thing on the list during your city trip. After an extensive walk through the city, a visit to the beach is the obvious choice. For example, Banje Beach and Buza Beach, which are just below the city walls, are both popular. One of the biggest summer highlights is the legendary Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which takes place every year in July and August. Visitors can expect more than 70 open-air venues, as countless streets and squares act as stages for a varied programme of concerts, exhibitions, plays, dance performances, and much more. You definitely don’t want to miss this spectacle!
Festivals and more in Budapest
Budapest used to be a hidden gem, but now it’s a real trendsetter when it comes to European city breaks. The Hungarian capital is starting to inspire more and more tourists with its beauty. Impressive buildings such as the towering Buda Castle, the Dohány Street Synagogue and the Matthias Church are just some of the most popular tourist attractions.
The city is even more appealing for many tourists in the summer. There’s more on offer and the events are even more exceptional at this time of the year. You can take some time out and have fun in one of the popular open-air thermal baths, such as the Gellért Baths or the Szechenyi Baths. Go to a world-famous music festival for a more exhilarating experience. The Balaton Sound Festival takes place this year from the 5th – 7th July on the shores of Lake Balaton, which is a short distance from Budapest. It has a great set, with visiting DJs such as Hardwell, Kygo and Robin Schulz. The Sziget Festival, on an island in the middle of the Danube, is right in the heart of Budapest. This festival is ideal for fans of pop, rock, heavy metal, jazz, and folk music. A city trip to Budapest guarantees a summer full of sightseeing, relaxing, and loads of fun!
Spain’s beautiful Valencia
Popular cities like Barcelona, Madrid, or Palma are usually at the top of the list when you think of taking a short break in sunny Spain. But have you ever thought about taking a city break to wonderful Valencia? The Spanish beauty is situated in the east of Spain and it’s an excellent choice of destination for a summer holiday, as it’s right on the Mediterranean coast. Gorgeous parks are the perfect for places for a cosy picnic before you head off to the next square to admire the city’s architectural masterpieces, like the beautiful cathedral and the Cuitat Vella, Valencia’s historic heart
Of course, there’s only one thing missing when you visit this coastal town in the middle of the summer – a visit to the beach! You just need to head to the edge of the city, cross the palm-lined promenade and you’re already on the beautiful Las Arenas beach. Perfect for when you need to take a break from all the sight-seeing and eating. Oh, speaking of food, Valencia is where paella originated… This place is a true foodie heaven!
Cycling through Rome
Many of you have probably thought about visiting the Eternal City in the summer, but never decided to do it. Admittedly, with temperatures reaching over 30 degrees it can be a bit hot, but with the right tips, a city break in the summer can be a really special experience. For example, you can use the beautiful weather as an excuse to travel around Rome on two wheels and cycle leisurely past the most beautiful sights in the city. You don’t need to worry about masses of people as the streets are relatively empty: many locals like to make their way to the sea during the summer holidays. The rush of air is a welcome change in the heat.
At lunchtime, you can simply sit in a small air-conditioned cafe and enjoy a refreshing salad and cold drink. Alternatively, you can spend the hottest part of the day exploring one or two museums, or find yourself a shady spot under a tree on the banks of the River Tiber. You’ll need a break from all of the sightseeing, even in the middle of this bustling metropolis – there’s just so much to do!
Summer in Sarajevo – the Balkan insider’s tip
The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, has gained more and more popularity in the last few years but it is still considered a hidden gem among the Balkan cities. It’s a relatively cheap holiday destination, and it’s brimming with history. As soon as you arrive, you’ll quickly notice that their painful past is still very present. The First World War and the Bosnian War in the ’90s have both left behind visible traces. This makes it more wonderful to see now how the city’s different peoples and religions co-exist peacefully. Churches, mosques, and synagogues have sprung up almost next door to each other.
If you decide on a trip here in the summer, you can experience Bosnia’s young and dynamic life. You can stroll from bar to bar and feel the warmth and hospitality of the local people. Watch the bustle of the people as they wander across Baščaršija bazaar in the heart of the old town. You should also visit the famous Latin Bridge, which is one of the oldest bridges in the city and which hides a dark past. In the early evening, as the temperature slowly cools, you should make your way to the Yellow Fortress, which has the best view over the city, and admire the most beautiful sunset.
Barcelona at the most beautiful time of year
Obviously, I can’t miss Barcelona off this list. Even though Catalonia’s capital is worth a visit at any time of the year, it acquires a special shine and brims with variety in the summer. The Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and the Parc de la Ciutadella are just a few of the attractions which are definitely worth a visit in summer. Barcelona’s beaches are also a must. Unfortunately, as can be expected from such a fashionable and popular city, the beaches are often overflowing with people on hot summer days.
If you would like to cool down, but don’t want to squeeze onto the famous and overcrowded Barceloneta beach, I have found the perfect alternative for you. Travel instead to the more secluded Bogatell or Nova Mar Bella beaches. Alternatively, hop into one of the coolest pools in the city, the Grand Hotel Central’s infinity pool, which has a breath-taking view. Unfortunately, you have to be a guest at the hotel to swim in the pool. Luckily, I’ve found another alternative. The Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc is a cool pool on Montjuic hill with amazing views over the city.
Summer, here we come!
Are you itching to go as much as me? Eating a real Italian ice cream in the Eternal City, sunbathing in the colourful Park Güell, or learning about Bosnia’s history, are definitely welcome changes to a typical beach holiday. What do you think? :)